The Big Ten Tournament will see perhaps its most competitive and important incarnation this year in Indianapolis as the league has 9 teams that could possibly get at-large NCAA Tournament bids this year.
Here are my picks for the winners of each game in the Big TenTournament in 2009:
2009Big Ten Tournament Game Predictions
Minnesota vs. Northwestern-
The Wildcats might be able to sneak into the first NCAA Tournament in program history with a big win over Minnesota and then over Michigan State in the second round.
Northwestern is playing very well right now and Minnesota has been playing just okay.
Prediction: 57-50, Minnesota
Michigan vs. Iowa-
Iowa beat Michigan in an overtime contest in Iowa City but got blown out at Michigan.
The Wolverines should be motivated to win this one but Jake Kelly is playing as well as anyone in the Big Ten at PG for Iowa.
UM’s athleticism will be the key here as well as their motivation to get their first NCAA bid since 1998.
Prediction: 73-64 Michigan
Penn State vs. Indiana-
The Nittany Lions desperately need this one to keep their NCAA hopes alive. Indiana is deceptively tough at home but doesn’t have enough play-makers to beat a superior team on a neutral court, even if the IU fans come out to support the Hoosiers in this one.
Prediction: 77-65 PSU
Wisconsin vs. Ohio State-
This is a hard game to call since both teams aren’t quite playing up to their potential.
It will be a close one with the difference being Wisconsin’s defense and experience.
Prediction: 63-58 Wisconsin
Michigan State vs. Minnesota-
MSU isn’t getting nearly enough credit and deserves a number one seed considering they dominated the RPI’s number two-ranked conference despite a key injury to Raymar Morgan, their second-best player.
Prediction: 69-61 MSU
Michigan vs. Illinois-
If the Wolverines hit the three, they could definitely win this game.
Illinois is good on defense but Michigan has been playing exceptionally well lately and chaos usually reigns in the Big Ten Tournament.
Prediction: 57-54 Michigan
Purdue vs. Penn State-
Penn State is fighting for their tourney lives while Purdue is struggling with star forward Robbie Hummel ailing. If Talor Battle catches fire, PSU can make a deep run here. But Purdue’s depth and defense will be too much.
Prediction: 68-58 Purdue
Wisconsin vs. MSU
Wisconsin often gives MSU trouble but this isn’t quite a vintage Badgers team.
Prediction: 78-66 MSU
Michigan vs. Purdue
Michigan seems to play well against Purdue. They played them tough in West Lafayette before Manny Harris, their star, was ejected for throwing an elbow attempting to clear space from a defender.
Prediction: 69-67 Michigan
Big Ten Tournament Finals
Michigan vs. Michigan State-
Michigan has two of the top six players in the league in Manny Harris and DeShawn Sims but MSU’s size and toughness on the front-line will lead them to a victory in what could be an intense final game here.
Prediction: 70-62 MSU